I Have Made It This Far

Anne Sexton

In a dream you are never eighty.

Anne Sexton

The Starry Night

By Anne Sexton 

That does not keep me from having a terrible need of—shall I say the word—religion. Then I go out at night to paint the stars.Vincent Van Gogh in a letter to his brother

The town does not exist
except where one black-haired tree slips
up like a drowned woman into the hot sky.
The town is silent. The night boils with eleven stars.   
Oh starry starry night! This is how
I want to die.
 
It moves. They are all alive.
Even the moon bulges in its orange irons   
to push children, like a god, from its eye.
The old unseen serpent swallows up the stars.   
Oh starry starry night! This is how   
I want to die:
 
into that rushing beast of the night,   
sucked up by that great dragon, to split   
from my life with no flag,
no belly,
no cry.


Letter Written on a Ferry While Crossing Long Island Sound

(An Excerpt)

By Anne Sexton (1928 – 1974)
 
I am surprised to see
that the ocean is still going on.   
Now I am going back
and I have ripped my hand
from your hand as I said I would   
and I have made it this far
as I said I would
and I am on the top deck now   
holding my wallet, my cigarettes   
and my car keys
at 2 o’clock on a Tuesday
in August of 1960.
 
Dearest,
although everything has happened,
nothing has happened.   
The sea is very old.
The sea is the face of Mary,
without miracles or rage
or unusual hope,
grown rough and wrinkled
with incurable age.
 
Still,
I have eyes.
These are my eyes:
the orange letters that spell   
ORIENT on the life preserver   
that hangs by my knees;
the cement lifeboat that wears   
its dirty canvas coat;
the faded sign that sits on its shelf   
saying KEEP OFF.
Oh, all right, I say,
I’ll save myself.

Published by

A Sonnet Obsession

I am a life-long Minnesotan who resides in Minneapolis. I hope you enjoy my curated selection of sonnets, short poems and nerdy ruminations. I am pleased to offer Fourteenlines as an ad and cookie free poetry resource, to allow the poetry to be presented on its own without distractions. Fourteenlines is a testament to the power of the written word, for anyone wanting a little more poetry in their life.

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